Immersion Is… an opportunity for undergraduate students to pursue their passions and interests through experiential learning. Media, politics, law, business, medicine, technology, gender, sexuality, race, and more—communication intersects with many areas of inquiry that can make for exciting Immersion experiences.
Students interested in communication should think broadly about the many Immersion experiences that can connect with communication studies. For example, a student interested in civic engagement could work with a local nonprofit organization that serves disadvantaged communities, followed by a presentation about this experience. Or, a student interested in digital storytelling could create a documentary video and offer a public screening.
The opportunities are endless. Below are but a few options of how students who are interested in communication can complete their Immersion experience. This list is meant only to spark creativity; you are encouraged to develop your own unique Immersion plan based on your interests and passions.
Internships | Media, Film and Digital Technology | Debate | Professional Communication | Public Speaking and Oratory | Civic Engagement and Advocacy | Study Abroad & Intercultural Communication | Interdisciplinary Immersion | Immersion Contacts | Immersion Profile
Are you interested in broadcast journalism? Advertising? Marketing? Corporate consulting? Start-ups? An internship might be an excellent opportunity for you to develop these interests.
Over the years, the Department of Communication Studies has overseen countless internships in fields related directly or indirectly to communication. Public relations, sports communication, brand marketing, graphic design, media production, and publishing are just a handful of examples. Internships are a great way to pursue your passions, discover possible careers, and gain hands-on professional experience outside the university.
Media, Film, and Digital Technology
If you’re interested in journalism, film and television production, social media, and similar areas, the Department of Communication Studies can offer valuable resources.
In addition to participating in an internship, students interested in media can participate in any number of Vanderbilt-sponsored programs. Vanderbilt Student Communications, which is responsible for the student-run The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vanderbilt Television, and much more, offers students a range of hands-on experiences related to production and content creation.
Another option is to participate in the Vandy-in-Hollywood summer internship program. If you’re interested in a career in the entertainment industry, or even if you just want to spend a summer in Hollywood, this is an excellent opportunity. What’s more, participation in Vandy-in-Hollywood can be combined with communication studies courses related to film, television, and media production to constitute an Immersion experience.
Participation in debate has long been an Immersive activity, with debaters becoming deeply involved in constructing arguments, researching evidence to support those arguments, and organizing those arguments into persuasive positions.
Debate offers several possible Immersion opportunities. Students interested in pursuing debate as their Immersion experience should contact Vanderbilt debate faculty members.
If you’re hoping to pursue a career in any kind of corporate or professional setting, communication will be essential to your success. The Department of Communication Studies offers several courses that can give you the tools to be a better communicator in whatever industry you work.
Numerous CMST courses can combine productively with internships and other experiences related to business, civic and professional organizations, nonprofits, consulting, finance, and more.
Public Speaking and Oratory
Even with the tools of digital communication at our fingertips, the art of oratory remains as important as ever. In addition to taking courses related to the art of oratory in CMST, you can complete an Immersion project by participating in public speaking events around campus. One such event is the Frank K. Houston Public Speaking Contest. Another is the Vanderbilt chapter of Toastmasters International. There’s also TEDx Vandy, which is a great way for students with a passion for public speaking and big ideas to influence their fellow Vanderbilt students.
Civic Engagement and Advocacy
Politics, public engagement, and community organizing are fundamentally communicative endeavors. The Department of Communication Studies offers a wide range of courses to students who want to fulfill their Immersion requirement by engaging fellow citizens on issues that affect us all.
For your Immersion experience, you could combine different CMST courses with volunteering on a political campaign, working with a local nonprofit, interning in the public defender’s office, or leading a Vanderbilt student organization devoted to advocacy and engagement.
Study Abroad & Intercultural Communication
Study abroad is a great way for students to create a novel, exciting Immersion experience. If you study abroad and are interested in communication, you can enroll in courses related to the media, language, and culture of your host country. You can also take a course on intercultural communication, which provides a revealing perspective on the problems and possibilities of communicating across cultural divides.
Completing an Immersion project on top of studying abroad allows you to pair the study of communication with the international pathway of the Immersion requirement.
Many study abroad programs offer courses such as intercultural communication, media around the globe, rhetoric in the ancient world, and more. Receiving credit for one of these courses is fairly straightforward and will likely transfer as an elective into your CMST major.
All CMST majors thinking about studying abroad should make an appointment with Isaac West, Director of Undergraduate Studies, to receive pre-approval for study abroad courses. This meeting should happen BEFORE the semester in which a student hopes to study abroad.
Students should also make an appointment with Vanderbilt’s Global Education Office.
Law, politics, medicine, health, media, social movements, business, history—communication studies teaches courses related to all of these areas, but so do other departments on campus.
With Immersion Vanderbilt, students are not only able, but encouraged to experiment with interdisciplinary Immersion experiences.
If you’d like to discuss the interdisciplinary potential of Immersion, contact Paul Stob, professor of communication studies.
The above are just some of the options for linking your Immersion experience with the study of communication. If you’d like to learn more, contact Department Chair Jeffrey Bennett, Director of Undergraduate Studies Isaac West, or any CMST faculty member.
Qwynn Foster ’25
Qwynn Foster’s upcoming Immersion project will be to restart the Free Speech: The Movement program. This program, created by Professor M.L. Sandoz and two local educators in the MNPS system, teaches elementary students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, how to engage in the art of debate. Drawing inspiration from their great-grandmother’s commitment to the community and their own life-changing experience with debate, Qwynn believes that there is nothing more impactful than showing a child the power their voice carries. Debate shows students how words can shape the world around them. By dedicating their time to this program, Qwynn hopes to honor their great-grandmother’s legacy and give back to the community around them.